Sam Critchlow at Leicestershire bedmaker Get Laid Beds offers some tips of what to look for when buying a bed frame.
Blog: January 2016
Buying a new bed? Consider the merits of a durable wooden frame
Wooden bed frames are a great choice if you're looking for a product that will last you for decades. But not all wood frames are created equal, so it's worth doing a bit of research and due diligence so you don't buy a frame that could be liable to break due to things such as weak joints or unsuitable timber. Or in the case of a friend who rents out a room on Airbnb...a large German guest who came embarrassed into the kitchen saying “I've just broken the bed. But I just sat down on it so I don't know what happened....”
Many wooden bed frames are made from solid Scandinavian pine - though some manufacturers use aesthetically-pleasing hardwoods and these can make a more sophisticated/ luxurious looking bed. Some of the most popular hardwoods include oak, cherry and ash and they make for very durable, sleek and stylish bed frames. And certainly with our customers, we've noticed they love hardwoods too because they may well already have pieces of furniture in those woods, so an oak or ash beds fit effortlessly into their decoration schemes.
But whatever your budget, there are several key factors to consider:
What timber has the bedmaker used, and is it from sustainable forests? There's still a lot of illegal logging going on, so it's advisable to go for wood from managed forests in the EU..and if the wood is FSC or PEFC-certified, so much the better. Try to find companies that have these certifications as it shows they're more environmentally aware. Some firms even promise to plant new trees for every felled one they use.
Of course we can't all afford the most expensive products; but some frames are made from cheaper woods and these products can have weaker joints..so if you buy at a real 'bargain' price, you may well find yourself having to replace the frame before too long.
A tell-tale sign of a poorly manufactured frame is a lack of a guarantee from the manufacturer. A company that's certain about the quality of its beds offers a longer guarantee than those providing cheaper beds. (We offer an 11-year guarantee, for example.)
Check the joints
Other signs you're buying from a quality bedmaker are the methods they use to make their beds - such as the use of mortise and tenon joints, which you might remember from woodworking classes in school.
While the style of frame that you choose comes down to personal likes and dislikes, it pays to check that strong joints like the mortise and tenon are used. They've been used for thousands of years by carpenters, joiners, and cabinetmakers, and remain one of the strongest methods for adjoining pieces of wood at 90 degrees. You'll find slight variations, however they all follow the same principle of the mortise being the square or rectangular hole which the tenon fits into. Once the tenon has been slotted in, it can be glued, pinned or wedged to lock it in place securely. So do take a good close-up look at any frame you're thinking about buying to check the joints.
Another element of bed design to consider is style of headboard. The majority of bed frames come with a headboard, unless you choose a platform frame. Some headboards are slanted, making them a perfect choice for someone that likes to be propped up so they can read in bed; while others are set straight and some are made in more obscure shapes and styles. Alternatively you can buy an upholstered headboard from a specialist company and have made to the size you need in the fabric of your choice. These can look pretty smart.
And to keep your bed looking as good as new, you may wish to repaint frame after a few years down the line. You can find lots of online guides on how do do this and types of paint to use - chalk paints or water-based eggshell paints are fine.
Slats - solid or sprung?
The final and probably most important factor to consider is the the quality of the slats your mattress will be lying on. They can be solid or sprung. Solid flats tend to be fairly sturdy though they should bend slightly to take movement. Sprung slats on the other hand are flexible but though you might not realise it, they can be vulnerable to breaking. It’s always best to check to see if they have much 'give' they have in them: too much and they'll be more liable to snap should the kids start jumping vigorously on the bed. Which they will....